Top 10 Reasons to Travel to Europe

10. The Art in Amsterdam: Try not to get too distracted by the nightlife in Amsterdam and set aside a little time to visit the iconic museums that the city has to offer like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House or the Rembrandt House Museum.

Amsterdam Museum

9.  The food in Italy: It’s not simply pasta and pizza all the time. Travel along the coast and you’ll find plenty of unique and inspired seafood such as ricci di mare or sea urchin. Though it’s not all about pasta and pizza, save a little room, because those are delicious, too!

8.  The Wine of France: When it comes to wine in France, the Localvore movement has been flourishing since the Middle Ages and many French residents take a good deal of pride in their local varietal. Whenever possible, we recommend drinking local. Fortunately, when traveling in France you’re likely to have good luck with the regional vin wherever you happen to be.

7.  The Live Music of Ireland: Sure you should try a Guinness while exploring the Emerald Isle, but try to plan your night on the town so that it coincides with traditional music night. That way you can share a pint and shake a leg with the locals.

Dancing House in Prague

6.  The Architecture of the Czech Republic: Both modern and untarnished, historic buildings adorn the streets of Prague and you’ll feel, both, the history and the youth of the city as you tour the Czech Capital. Plus, you’ll never be late because you can hear the bells of the Astronomical Clock throughout the city.

5.  Late Night Snacks in Spain: No need to sacrifice on food quality simply because it’s after 10—That’s just when things start to heat up in Spain. Enjoy a light meal early to tide you over, and when the sun has dipped well below the Mediterranean, let the tapas begin!

4.  The Islands of Croatia: Offering an Eastern European spin on “Island Life”, Croatia boasts some of the most scenic havens on earth. Just ask Condé Nast Traveler magazine, who consistently rates Hvar among the 10 Most Beautiful Islands in the World.

3.  The History of Sicily: Part Greek, part Moorish and wholly Sicilian, this Mediterranean island features fascinating history at every turn. Bring a camera as you ride along its ancient streets and be thankful you’re cycling. It’s much easier to park a bike than it is to park a car on Sicily’s narrow lanes.

Belgian Beer2.  The Beers of Belgium: While the French and the Italians have devoted themselves to wine production, brewing has been elevated to an art form in Belgium. When sampling, just keep in mind that beer can be a bit stronger on the other side of the Atlantic.

And the number 1 reason to visit Europe… VBT has 33 Active Vacations there and would love to be your host!

VBT’s Top 5 European Comfort Foods

Comfort food isn’t often associated with spring time. And although your calendar says that spring is here, the chill in the air and the lingering snow on the ground seems to indicate that we have a few more weeks remaining of winter. While you wait for longer days and rising temperatures, warm up with some of our favorite European comfort foods.

RibolettaItaly

 

Italian Food, Comfort Food

We’ll start in the comfort food capital of the world, Italy. However, we’re steering away from pasta as Riboletta is chockfull of fresh veggies, legumes and, of course, just a bit of olive oil. Bring them to a boil and warm up from the inside out with this hearty Tuscan soup.

CassouletFrance

Comfort Food

There are many variations on the classic Cassoulet. It can be prepared with goose, duck, pork, pancetta or any combination of the four. Slow-roasted and utterly magnifique, this dish is certainly not as veggie-friendly as Riboletta. But if you enjoy roasts, then kick back by a fire and savor this robust stew from the south of France.

Seafood PaellaSpain

If stew’s not your style, then lighten things up, just a bit, with this delightful medley from Spain. Sure, paella can be enjoyed year-round. However, if you’re after a true taste of Audalusia, add a little cayenne pepper to spice up your seafood and fend off the bite of winter’s last few weeks.

Shepherd’s Pie—Ireland

Not always noted for its cuisine, the UK shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to purveying rich comfort foods. Shepherd’s pie is now a classic winter dish here in America, but for lending us the recipe, we owe a bit of gratitude to Ireland—a land of rolling, green hills where potatoes were plentiful enough to make this dish ubiquitous, even back in the 19th century.

PecenicaSlovenia

They say that March comes “in like a lion and out like a lamb”. Well, we’ve sort of reversed that order with our list of comfort foods, beginning with a Tuscan specialty and ending with a Slovenian dish that comes to us from the snowy Julian Alps. Suggested by VBT’s very own, Damjan, Pecenica is a delicious pork sausage, served with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and beans together. For a nice full meal, start with a traditional Slovenian mushroom soup.

This March, don’t shiver your way through the last few weeks of winter, track down a few recipes and keep warm with our favorite European comfort foods or Travel to Europe with VBT to sample some authentic cuisine straight from the source!